WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University President Mitch Daniels apologized Wednesday for recent remarks in which he described an African-American scholar as “one of the rarest creatures in America."
“I retract and apologize for a figure of speech I used in a recent impromptu dialogue with students,” Daniels wrote in a letter sent to the Purdue chapter of the NAACP, Purdue’s Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff, the Black Student Union and other groups.
“The word in question was ill chosen and imprecise and, in retrospect, too capable of being misunderstood. I accept accountability for the poor judgment involved.”
The Journal & Courier reports Daniels made the comment Nov. 20 after a meeting with Purdue Student Government leaders when students asked Daniels to follow up on his thoughts about what Purdue was doing to promote diversity on campus and to make underrepresented minority students feel welcome.
Students had pressed Daniels about his administration’s response after a Purdue student was denied the sale of cold medicine because a clerk and a manager at an off-campus pharmacy had rejected his Puerto Rican driver’s license as sufficient ID.
The University Senate issued a statement calling Daniels’ phrasing “problematic.” The Purdue student chapter of the NAACP called for an apology.